Yesterday, we showed you this viral video about stopping Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony that received over four million hits on YouTube in less than 24 hours.
Today, the 30-minute video now has well over 36 million hits. And while it boasts 925,459 “likes” it also has 31,328 “dislikes.”
Despite being backed and tweeted about by celebrities ranging from Oprah WInfrey to Kristen Bell, Invisible Children, the non-profit group who created the video, have been receiving major backlash since its release.
After watching the film, Grant Oyston, a political science student at Acadia University in Canada, looked into Invisible Children’s finances online and discovered that of the organisation’s $8.6 million 2011 budget, over 68 per cent of that was spent on salaries, travel, transportation and film production.
Oyston even went as far as to set up a site called Visible Children, that is now garnering so much press of its own that the college student posted this message:
“Please do not email me except to provide alternative causes, or with media requests, as I am no longer able to read emails (which I’m receiving at a pace too rapid to keep up with).”
The organisation, which says they are as transparent as possible, then posted this chart explaining the breakdown of their expenses for all the world to see.
Photo: Invisible Children
The group went on to explain:
“Invisible Children’s financial statements are online for everyone to see. Financial statements from the last 5 years, including our 990, are available at invisiblechildren.com/financials. The organisation spent 80.46% on our programs that further our three fold mission, 16.24% on administration and management costs and 3.22% on direct fundraising in FY2011. Invisible Children is independently audited every year and in full compliance with our 501 c 3 status.”
But finances aren’t critics’ only concern.
Everything from the group’s marketing tactics and support for military intervention to supposedly exaggerating the situation in Uganda are currently in question.
In 2011, Foreign Affairs magazine wrote:
“In their campaigns, such organisations have manipulated facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasising the LRA’s use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony — a brutal man, to be sure — as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil. They rarely refer to the Ugandan atrocities or those of Sudan’s People’s Liberation Army, such as attacks against civilians or looting of civilian homes and businesses, or the complicated regional politics fueling the conflict.”
But Invisible Children are not backing down on their cause. Read the organisation’s full rebuttal against their haters HERE.
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